Protecting Your Brand in the Digital World: Risks and Ways You Can Prevent Them

Protecting Your Brand in the Digital World

Brand protection is one of the things most important for business. Brands, which have come to develop within digital space, sometimes experience abuse due to brand bidding by competitors and trademark infringers.

This type of abuse involves keyword searches associated with a particular brand to attract the audience while distracting the same audience from the brand itself. Such behavior may be a problem for the brand owner, as well as harm its reputation.

This article explains your options for protecting your brand from all sorts of abuse.

What is Brand Bidding?

what is brand bidding

Before we speak about effective instruments to help you in protecting your brand, let’s review what brand bidding is and how it is used in online marketing.

Brand bidding is a web marketing technique, which involves using keywords or phrases related to a specific brand to drive traffic to the brand owner’s website or an advertising resource. This means that a company or an individual participates in auctions from search engines such as Google in order to place their own ads on search results pages when the user is looking for a specific brand.

Let us take a look at an example involving the Nike brand. Imagine that you own a sporting goods store. You wish to drive more clients interested in purchasing goods associated with Nike. When brand bidding, you can bid on specific Nike-related keywords in search engines, like ‘buy Nike sportswear’ or ‘women’s sneakers, Nike’. When a user enters these search keywords, the ad of your store may appear on the results page. This may help you get attention and drive users to your website where they can purchase everything from Nike.

One of the main advantages of brand bidding is that it lets companies with lesser budget compete with other brands greater in size. Instead of simply spending large amounts of money on brand promotion, smaller companies may use brand bidding to direct traffic to their website. This opens up opportunities for them to attract new clients and drive sales, despite their limited financial capabilities.

Some brands, such as Samsung, are okay about such technologies.

However, the majority of global brands, such as Coca-Cola or Apple explicitly ban the use of their brands for ads of other companies, including resellers. They care about their reputation and brand value, therefore they may regard the use of their brand by other companies as copyright infringement, or illegal use of their brand.

Such companies implement measures to protect their own brand, they take effort to send warnings and even go to court for their claims. Brands closely monitor their online presence, and the use of their names and keyword searches within search systems.

There is a number of important reasons why big businesses protect their online presence.

Brand Bidding Losses, and Associated Risks

Illegal brand use in digital space may lead to considerable loss.

This may lead to undesirable circumstances:

  1. This may have negative impact on your organic traffic, since infringers use branded keywords to drive users to their websites and gain profit from them following the links. This leads to loss of the most valuable users who search for your specific brand.
  2. Such illegal use may increase the per-click cost in context ads. A struggle with other competitors, or abusers, for one’s own search keywords may lead to per-click cost increase and make advertising campaigns less profitable.
  3. Illegal online brand use carries reputational risks. When users’ search requests drive users to illegal websites, this may result in harm to the brand’s reputation. There is no way of knowing what malicious action may be taken by such infringers using the keyword searches, and how this may affect company image, along with that of its products.
  4. Brand bidding may become a provoking factor for creating copycat products, which will certainly harm customer loyalty toward the brand. Counterfeiters may abuse the brand online as a way to deceive the buyers by offering fake goods instead of the genuine ones. This may result in disaffection and discontent from the consumers, consecutively harming company and brand image.

How Can a Company Protect its Digital Brand?

How Can a Company Protect its Digital Brand

Big businesses use a set of strategies to protect their brands online. Among these strategies are the following:

  1. Legal protection. Have your brand name registered as a trademark and have it reflected in the registry to protect your rights from illegal use. Should you discover your competitors are abusing your brand or infringing your copyright, consult your lawyer and use all applicable legal measures necessary to stop it.
  2. Competitor monitoring. Active monitoring of competitors may help understand their strategies better and put countermeasures in place. Use monitoring tools at your disposal to keep track of your brand-related keywords and take timely action when necessary. This is an important part of your strategy, since monitoring results may serve as proof that your intellectual property has been violated.
  3. Cooperation with search systems. Contact search systems representatives and inform them of any infringement on your brand. Ban your competitors from using your brand-related keywords to spin your campaigns.
  4. Another important strategy to protect your digital brand presumes its protection from fake websites and employment of specific branding rules for your affiliate programs. Large companies may encounter fake websites imitating your brand set up to deceive your customers and obtain their personal data. In order to prevent that, companies must actively monitor their online footprint for fake websites. When such websites are found, the digital brand team must take effort to remove such websites or block them, in order to minimize brand reputation losses and ensure customer safety.


Digital infringement related to brand bidding presents certain risks for many brands. Illegal use of brand keywords may lead to loss of your organic traffic, increase click costs and negatively impact company reputation.

However, there are ways to protect one’s digital brand. Initially, it makes sense to first register your brand as a trademark, and use legal action when the brand rights are violated.

Monitoring your competitors using specialized services engineered for the purpose of  protecting your brand is also an important step in your brand status efforts. Monitoring  competitor activities and timely reaction to violating your rights will help you protect the brand and organize effective responses.

Moreover, cooperation with search systems may help effectively counteract illegal brand bidding by establishing a ban for use of keywords associated with your brand in competitor campaigns.

In general, protection of your digital brand requires a comprehensive approach involving legal measures, competitor monitoring, and cooperation with search systems. This is the only way you can eliminate potential threats associated with brand bidding, and preserve your company income and reputation.

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